What Tax Day Funds: Regulation Edition

Today marks that most melancholy of days for American checkbooks: Tax Day. And it is yet another 15th of April where the funds flowing out of the Treasury will far exceed those flowing into it. While it is natural that such an occasion usually inspires a discussion of our fiscal imbalance, it is also important to examine particular trends in spending and their implications for the most active regulatory programs.

Administration Compliance with the Congressional Review Act

Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress has the right to review and rescind “major” federal regulations, rules with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. However, during the Obama Administration, there are likely several rules that impose substantial economic burdens, but instead were labeled “non-major,” including the individual and employer mandates under the Affordable Care Act.

The Week in Regulation

A wild week in regulatory activity resulted in a steep increase in 2014’s cost burden, but an even steeper decrease in its cumulative paperwork burden. Agencies added nearly $8 billion in total costs. Energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators and the Department of Education’s new “Gainful Employment” rule were the main cost drivers. Yet, largely thanks to a proposed Transportation rule, the year’s net paperwork burden fell by nearly 15 million hours.

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